OLP Leadership Mad Dash

While the federal Liberals chose a lengthy marathon to replace Michael Ignatieff, their provincial cousins sounded the starter’s pistol on a mad sprint this past weekend. Heck, maybe “roller derby” is the more apt sports analogy.

The next Premier of Ontario will be selected on January 25th, but the date that matters is November 23rd – that’s the deadline to become a member to vote or run in the leadership race.

That may seem like a rush, but the party’s Executive Council had little choice. With the minority government teetering in prorogation purgatory, the Liberals need a leader quick. The party still uses the grand old convention to select its leaders, and as exciting as these conventions can be, the need to elect delegates expands the timeline. Indeed, the deadlines announced over the weekend are already a work-around from the constitutional letter of the law, which would have excluded anyone who wasn’t already a party member last month from voting.

The media will no doubt focus on gaffes, debate performances, and convention speeches, but anyone who has worked on a leadership campaign knows it’s all about selling membership forms. That leaves candidates 32 days to decide if they want to run, assemble a team, and sign-up supporters. Yes, the fact that it will likely be a multi-ballot convention opens the door for a come-from-behind winner à la Dalton McGuinty in 1996 (or Stephane Dion in 2006), but if you can’t reach a critical mass of first ballot support to be seen as a credible player, it’s effectively “game over”. It’s almost impossible to reach that critical mass without signing up a significant number of “instant Liberals”.

For all intents and purposes, the Ontario Liberal Leadership race, under one week old, is now coming down the homestretch.

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in 2013 OLP Leadership Race, Ontario Politics

About CalgaryGrit

A former Calgary Liberal, now living in Toronto. My writings on politics can be found at www.calgarygrit.ca and online at the National Post.

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2 Responses to OLP Leadership Mad Dash

  1. Pingback: OLP Leadership Update | Liblogs

  2. Pingback: Your Weekly OLP Leadership Update: Can Kennedy Restore a Liberal Camelot? | Liblogs

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